Sunday, September 21, 2014

September 21 Ukraine and Russia mini-SITREP

Demonstrations in Russia:

According to RT, 5'000 to 26'000 people have marched in the streets of Moscow demanding peace in the Ukraine.  According to Vzgliad,20 people demonstrated in Petrozavodsk and Saratov, 50 in Perm, up to 100 in Ekaterinburg, 10 in Novosibirsk, 15 in Syktyvkar and a few people in Barnaul.  What are important here are not the actual figures, but the order of magnitude.  What we clearly see is that these demonstrations were tiny, at least by Russian standards and when RT's  Anissa Naouai reports that there was a "very high turnout" she is plain wrong.  Also, and this is no less important, let us be very careful about what these demonstrations were all about: for peace in the Ukraine and against war.  With such a vague and yet doubleplusgoodmeaning slogan, even refugees from bombed out Donetsk could agree (maybe even especially them).

What we have here is a typical propaganda ploy: get people in the streets in support of peace, love and happiness all over the world, and then present that as an "opposition" protest against the government policies.  But, come on, seriously, who wants war in the Ukraine?  The Kremlin?  

The other important point is this: even if, for argument's sake, we agree that 100% of the demonstators were fierce opponents of Putin or Russian policies in the Ukraine, that is less than nothing compared to Putin 80%+ approval rate.

So what did not happen?

What did not happen is the "Russian Maidan" predicted by Evgenii Fedorov and his supporters.  This is what he predicted would happen on September 14th:
They chose Saint Petersburg as the first site. The process has begun. The process is being helped: the whole story with an early election in Saint Petersburg is not accidental! (...)  They will send to Petersburg the same trained young people and fighters as those who were prepared in Ukraine. If necessary, they will be issued with Russian passports. The total number of fighters in Russia, prepared by the Americans, ranges from 50'000 to 100'000. On the basis of Ukraine. Of course, you won’t be able to pick them out: they are Russian people, in pure form. These people will come to Petersburg and rent apartments in great numbers. Their task will be to carry out provocations, if necessary, military provocations.  What does it all mean? It means terrorist activities! The Right Sector as you know does not have any problems with terrorist activities.
How much of that did actually happen? None at all.
Where is the Nationalist Maidan?  Nowhere.
How is the regime in power?  As stable as ever.

Fedorov did not stop here. In the same article (please do read it all), he even wrote this:
First, there is a new Ukrainian factor: a 100 thousand brainwashed people. The propaganda is at work turning people into animals there. Their position has strengthened in case you haven’t paid attention. You know, people are watching and many of them are rejoicing at the victories in Ukraine. There are no victories! There are some tactical gains, but no wins. Just six months ago we had a neutral neighbouring country. Now we have a country that has more than 40 million people and is absolutely militarily hostile to Russia. What kind of victory is that? Moreover, they have a Russian population. This is a country which can serve as a good base for the invasion of Russia by orange invaders of the modern type. It wasn’t like this just six months ago. It means that the balance of power around Russia has fundamentally changed. We suffered a huge defeat in the geopolitical sense. We didn’t have an enemy yesterday, and today our enemies look like us. In fact, it is a clear victory by the 5th column. It has won politically, militarily, and from there to a military invasion of Russia.
A military invasion of Russia, no less!

Evgenii Fedorov is a very nice person and he has many good ideas.  I honestly like him.  But as an analyst he is firmly set into the "doom, gloom and total panic" camp and, frankly, he has zero credibility with me.  I have tried to warn about this, but mostly I was ignored or attacked.  I hope that with the total "flop" on this "Russian Maidan" everybody now see that Fedorov should be listen to with a couple of pounds of salt.

Russian strategy in the Ukraine

Several of you have pointed out the apparent contradiction in my assertion that Russia's real goal in the Ukraine is regime change while, at the same time, staying out of the Ukraine and placing the burden of liberation and de-Nazificaton on the Ukrainian people.  The contradiction is, I submit, only apparent.  Here is what Russia can, and should, do:

1) Politically oppose the regime everywhere: UN, media, public opinion, etc.
2) Express political support for Novorussia and any Ukrainian opposition
3) Continue the informational war (Russian media does a great job)
4) Prevent Novorussia from falling (covert military aid)
5) Mercilessly keep up the economic pressure on the Ukraine
6) Disrupt as much as possible the US-EU "axis of kindness"
7) Help Crimea and Novorussia prosper economically and financially

In other words - give the appearance of staying out while very much staying in.

The key here is to create the conditions which would make it possible for the Ukrainian people to overthrow the Nazis currently in power, boot out the CIA proconsul in Kiev and begin de-Nazifying the country. Yes, this is a long-term and difficult task, but Russia has no other viable options.  There will never be stability of safety for Russia as long as the Nazis are in power in Kiev.  Sure, a temporary cease-fire or truce or even treaty can be signed with the Nazis, but it will never be viable and at most it will provide a short term respite.  I will repeat it again, regime change and de-nazification in the Ukraine are a vital national strategic objective for Russia.  Nothing short of that will do.

In conclusion, a couple of short items:

Business Insider says that "Ukraine Is On The Brink Of Total Economic Collapse".

The Kiev basketball team played in Lithuania against Russia wearing 'cammo sport's gear':

They lost 77 to 102 :-)

And now, last but not least, the really good news!!

According to Yahoo, the notorious Jewish oligarch, Mafia Don, mega-oligarch and iconic "Putin foe" Mikhail Khodorkovksy wants to lead the anti-Putin opposition and he is even contemplating a presidential position for himself.  This is absolutely wonderful news as, now that Berezovsky is dead, Khodorkovsky can legitimately claim the title of most hated oligarch in Russia.  To have him now declare that he wants to "lead" (read: finance) the Russia non-systemic (which did not even make it into the Duma) opposition is a dream come true for Putin's PR team.  They will now have a wonderful time discrediting all the pro-US opposition has "Khodorkovsk's agents".

Great news indeed!

Kind regards,

The Saker